Jakarta Burials Hit Pandemic Record as Delta Variant Spreads

Jakarta recorded its highest demand for burial services since the pandemic began, intensifying Indonesia’s battle against a more infectious strain of the coronavirus.

Funeral services for Covid-19 related deaths in Jakarta jumped to 180 on Wednesday, a new record, Governor Anies Baswedan tweeted. The city of 10 million people is the local epicenter of the virus, with the highly contagious delta variant detected among the new cases, health ministry data show.

President Joko Widodo has rejected calls for a full lockdown even as cases exceeded 2 million this week, the worst in Southeast Asia. He decided to stick to partial restrictions of keeping a 25% office capacity limit in worst-infected areas and still allow shops and restaurants to stay open to keep the economy going.

Virus Disrupts Indonesia Court, Parliament Amid Record Cases

“These deaths aren’t just statistics,” Baswedan tweeted on Wednesday. “Let this be enough. Let’s avoid doing things that could risk contagion. Get vaccinated.”

The country added 20,574 cases on Thursday, a fresh record, with 355 deaths reported in the past 24 hours. Hospital occupancy rates for Covid-19 patients have exceeded 80% in provinces across Java, the most populated island, according to the government.

The recent surge in infections had been predicted by the government, which forecast in May that cases could rise by 40% to 60% in four to five weeks after Eid holidays. A persistent increase in cases could threaten recovery in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, which last year saw its first contraction in two decades. The World Bank sees Indonesia expanding 4.4% in 2021, slower than the government forecast of 4.5%-5.3% growth for the full year.

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